Written by Loejan s. Anudon, 10-21-2010
“All of these sounds so very good, the way you have described it, but when you get down to the ground, it is a totally different situation”… KSC
Congresswoman Kimi S. Cojuangco revealed her apprehensions regarding the implementation of the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) that is aimed to reduce poverty in the country. The aim is noble but the lack of safeguards in the program alarmingly makes it susceptible to corruption. What is the assurance that the money will not go to waste? Will it go to the rightful beneficiary? These were the questions that concerned the Congresswoman that she wanted cleared in her interpellation during the two weeks marathon debates of the Aquino administration’s P1.645-trillion national budget for 2011 that also retained the controversial P21-billion CCT fund for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) despite negative sentiments of several lawmakers.
Factual experiences during her incumbency as a town mayor gave her the strong conviction of her contention which is a compelling argument to take into account. “As a municipal mayor, when I decided to double check and triple check lists, I have found and not in all places, but in many places, and also after having meetings with other local LGU mayors, the DSWD officers giving out these dole-outs to their relatives and not exactly to the people, or other individuals, but definitely, not the poorest of the poor.” she contended. “This opens us up to corruption and P21-billion divided amongst how many municipalities, it seems, on my mind, would be a total waste of money if it is not dispensed off properly.” The lady Representative strongly believes at this point that it would be impossible to make sure that the P21-billion will go to its rightful recipients. However, she hoped that more safeguards will be added in the program that ensures a lesser corruption if not totally eliminating it.
“And I would also like to say, for the record, I would rather teach our poorest of the poor how to fish than give them fish.”
She emphasized that more focus should be given to necessities such as improving situations where schools have to contend with zero textbooks and shortages of classrooms and Regional Health Units (RHUs) that are ill equipped to give appropriate maternal care, for instance.
In her final words, she admitted that her extreme apprehensions stem from her experience on the ground. The country, in its desire for progress in all possible efforts, should be, in all manners, attuned to prior and existing necessities. However, strict implementing guidelines must always be established in every attempt to eliminate the risk of corruption that paradoxically gave us international prominence; a disease that plagued every system of almost every program, which the CCT is not exempt from.